Bearaš, family

In 2019, following a wonderful reception to my “roots talk” (and singing of the Sámi Sova Lavlla) at the Leif Erickson Lodge, the Board of Directors voted unanimously to install a Sámi flag in the hall. To my knowledge this Sons of Norway Lodge is the third Nordic institution in Seattle to display our flag, after the Swedish Club, which has flown one above their portico for many years, and the National Nordic Museum, which includes several in its displays, such as the one below.

If all goes according to plan, a Sámi flag will be installed when Sandra Eira speaks at the Leif Erickson on August 4, 2021.

Display at National Nordic Museum, Seattle

If the walls could speak, I might ask them about my relative Anna Moen from Narvik, Norway. According to relatives, Anna was one of the lodge’s first female members (it opened to men in 1903 and to women in 1927). A Ballard resident, she was also a member of the Daughters of Norway and Nordlandslaget Nordlyset, whose archives are now at Pacific Lutheran University. (Perhaps a student would be interested in searching them for Sámi references.)

Below is a poem I wrote about Anna for last year’s POPO project, using an entirely optional formula of starting each new poem with the last line of one received.

Making a new home,
Anna from Narvik
never knew her áhkku’s
birthname or the kin
left behind in Sweden
Erasure being the point.
So two blood cousins
crossing Market Street
In 1947, could spy
the replica of a smile.
Become suddenly bereft.
Rootless Anna,
Orphan Clara!
Allow me to stop you
On this Duwamish deerpath
and join your tiny hands
Meet, dear foremothers
This is our birthright:
Bearaš, family.

If you like to write and receive short poems (and support the USPS) sign up for this year’s project.

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